The MAPL system - defining a Canadian song

What makes a song Canadian? The CRTC defines a Canadian musical selection in its Radio Regulations. Within these regulations, four elements are used to qualify songs as being Canadian: Music, Artist, Performance and Lyrics (MAPL).

The MAPL system is designed primarily to increase exposure of Canadian musical performers, lyricists and composers to Canadian audiences. It also strives to strengthen the Canadian music industry, including the creative and production components.

While it stimulates all components of the Canadian music industry, the MAPL system is also very simple for the industry to implement and regulate.

How does the MAPL system work?

To qualify as Canadian content, a musical selection must generally fulfil at least two of the following conditions:

  • M (music): the music is composed entirely by a Canadian
  • A (artist): the music is, or the lyrics are, performed principally by a Canadian
  • P (performance): the musical selection consists of a live performance that is
    • recorded wholly in Canada, or
    • performed wholly in Canada and broadcast live in Canada
  • L (lyrics): the lyrics are written entirely by a Canadian

There are four special cases where a musical selection may also qualify as Canadian content:

  • it was recorded before January 1972 and meets one of the above conditions
  • it is an instrumental performance of a musical composition written or composed by a Canadian
  • it is a performance of a musical composition that a Canadian has composed for instruments only
  • it was performed live or recorded after September 1, 1991 and, in addition to meeting the criterion for either artist or production, a Canadian who has collaborated with a non-Canadian receives at least half of the credit for both music and lyrics – according to the records of a recognized performing rights society, such as SOCAN (Canada) or Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and SESAC (United States)

Who qualifies as Canadian in the MAPL system?

For the purposes of the MAPL system, the CRTC’s Radio Regulations define a Canadian as being one of the following:

  • a Canadian citizen
  • a permanent resident as defined by the Immigration Act, 1976
  • a person whose ordinary place of residence was Canada for the six months immediately preceding their contribution to a musical composition, performance or concert
  • a licensee, i.e. a person licensed to operate a radio station

Related information